When we think suburbia, we think sleek modern homes lined like ducks in a row, neatly trimmed hedges, trash receptacles dutifully lining curbs, smiling neighbors, and short stubby driveways. In those driveways, we usually picture neatly parked Volvos, waiting to take the kids to school and soccer practice, or cart groceries home from the store.

That’s what made last week’s unveiling of the new Volvo V60 wagon so perfect. Rather than debut it at some extravagant industry-wide show in Tokyo, or Detroit, or Geneva, the team from Volvo did it right where their key demographic would see it best: In the driveway of one of Sweden’s modern and luxurious suburban homes.

We kid you not. Volvo bussed dozens of journalists, designers, and industry figureheads out to the suburbs for the unorthodox unveil, and when we weren’t slack-jawed over the beautiful home at which the event took place (more on that another time), we were impressed by what we saw pull into the lighted driveway.


First Impressions: Aggressive Lines for More Than a Grocery Getter

Early reviews of the newly re-designed V60 liken it to its predecessors, the V90 and XC60 models. The sentiment is fair and not at all incorrect, but for those of us who aren’t dedicated auto journos, what we saw pull into the driveway was in stark contrast to the boxy old V70s and V90s of yesteryear. Hell, it was even different from its last flatter, less aggressive iteration from a couple years back.

What we saw roll up that driveway was something sleek, modern, and elegant, with the long sloping hood of a luxury sedan, the aggressive nose and grill of a sports car (Complete with Volvo’s telltale “Thor’s Hammer” LED headlights), and the wagon back-half of, well, a Volvo. The side profile is just as attractive, with sharp creases through the panels and a downward sloping roofline.

But that’s the thing about the new V60… The whole new redesign is supposed to give people a sense of adventure and fun in a safe, practical package. Think sleek and confident, but not overstated. We think they nailed it, but of course, the pictures speak for themselves.


The Interior Gets a Facelift

The V60’s exterior got our attention, but its interior is where we really saw the perks. Very similar to its larger sibling, the V90, and its not-so-distant cousin, the CX60, the V60’s interior is modern and sleek, but simple without dipping into dull and drab.

The models we sat in featured interactive backlit steering controls, beautiful digital gauge panels, as well as Volvo’s Sensus touchscreen infotainment systems, if that’s your thing.

Despite being the smaller version of the V90, the new V60 still features impressive room. The driver’s cockpit is slender but not tight, and leaves plenty of room to comfortably access the controls, pedals, and levers. The rest of the wagon is spacious, with the second row seating is including 35.2 inches of legroom, and cargo volume anywhere from 28 cubic feet with the back seats up, to 48 cubic feet with them folded down. No one was cramped.


Disappointment Under the Hood

Just about the only place we weren’t pleased with the V60 was with its powertrain. If you’re in Europe, you’ll have your pick of the litter between six engine variations—two gas, two diesel, and two hybrid models, including the T8 Twin Engine AWD gas plug-in hybrid that lays down an impressive 390 horsepower through a supercharged and turbocharged two-liter.

U.S. fans will only receive two options: The FWD T5 with 254hp, or the all-wheel-drive T6 that lays down 316hp. Those options aren’t necessarily slow, but we’re definitely keeping our fingers crossed that Volvo will bring the T8 plug-in hybrid model to the U.S.


Final Thoughts: The New Contender

The re-design of the V60 is particularly interesting because, in the current climate, much of the auto industry is beginning to chalk wagons up as nothing more than old relics to be shelved in barns and auto museums. Despite being considered the epitome of luxury automobiles at one point, the wagon has fallen out of favor in the consumer auto world.

But then there’s Volvo. Not only are they keeping the wagon—one of their company namesakes—relevant in a changing landscape, they’re doing it with the styling and elegance needed to keep the ball moving forward. Right now, the V60 is going head to head with Audi’s A4 in the luxury sport wagon market, and we gotta tell ya, we think it’s more than capable of giving the Audi a run for its money.

So, all said, how much is it going to cost you? Well, that remains to be seen. Volvo hasn’t released the MSRP yet, but you can grab a current V60 for under $40k. We don’t imagine that changing too drastically with the re-design models, but it’s still too soon to hypothesize.

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